At Least Fukudome's Subconscious is Healthy

On the day of the rule 4 draft, I'll keep this short. It's based on a Sun-Times article by Gordon Wittenmyer about why Kosuke Fukudome is surprising the Cubs management with his solid performance so far in 2009. I guess the surprise is they had virtually written him off when they went out and got another multi-year contract, free-agent,  left handed hitting right fielder (OK, Bradley is a switch hitter) for the second year in a row. The article implies that the reason Fukudome was bad the second half of 2008 was that he was having subconscious mechanical problems with his swing, related to his 2007 elbow arthroscopy for the removal of bone chips.

But perhaps the most important reason and least known publicly was the affect his surgically repaired right arm had on his swing.

Fukudome had elbow surgery late in the 2007 season, and the elbow started bothering him last season right about the time his decline began in May. By the end of the season, his hitting mechanics were a mess.

''I didn't feel the pain physically, but I must have been subconsciously feeling the pain of the elbow,'' said Fukudome, still reluctant to openly admit pain. But when asked if it was a factor last season, he said, ''Probably it was.'' 

Surgery often takes longer to get to a point of full recovery in an athlete and that's can be measured by performance. Endurance is often the aspect that takes the most time to recover. So although he wasn't saying he was having elbow pain, he just might have been affected when the effects of a long season took hold. 

I think that if the Cubs brass thought Fukudome was going to be a "force" in their lineup as originally expected, they wouldn't have had to get another lefty bat to "balance" the lineup for 2009. I imagine would have made this offseason roster shuffling much quieter. It also would have kept a solid backup for Aramis Ramirez, instead of what has become a 2009 reminder of the days when they replaced DLee with his broken wrist in 2006 with Neifi Perez (Todd Walker just "shuffled" from 2nd to 1st, but Perez was the substitution to the lineup, essentially replacing Lee).  The 2009 shuffle slid Mike Fontenot from 2nd to 3rd, putting him in the Todd Walker role and has cast the Bobby Scales/Andy White combo as Neifi, aka ARam's replacement. 

Memo to the Cubs brass: If you lose an RBI machine, please don't consider your replacement reasonable when it's  someone who generates zero RBI's. Also, remember that it's not the dancer who's already on the floor that becomes the real replacement when the music calls for the positional shuffle dance (as in saying Mike Fontenot's replacing ARam at third when it's really Bobby Scales who's replacing ARam in the lineup).

Comments

Maybe Fukodome quietly had surgery on something else late in 2008 because he certainly seems to be sucking again as if on a schedule.

Oh, he's actually sucking. As wittlessmyer's article notes near the bottom

Consider that it was at this point last season that Fukudome's season went the wrong way. In both 2008 and '09, he was hitting exactly .300 through June 6, then went hitless on June 7 to fall under that mark.

Kosuke started last June 3/19 and didn't recover. This year he's 3/19 (.158) in June as well and 7 for his last 41 (.170). Over approximately the same period last year he was 13/42 so his drop off is actually much more severe this year.

Hope he can turn it around.

This year he's 3/19 (.158) in June as well and 7 for his last 41 (.170).

Ooh... fun with numbers. Do you know what a sample size is? If not, you should read up on it sometime.And I love the arbitrary cut off of 41 at-bats.

Why don't we look at his last 75 at-bats (93 plate appearances), where he has put up a line of .280/.402/.413, even with the bad 41 at-bats included?

I'd agree with tbone, and have noticed more of a recent trend of the "spinning K", which he was not doing earlier in the year. At the least, he has been providing excellent defense in the outfield. Something that Soriano does not.

"Oh, he's actually sucking. As wittlessmyer's article notes near the bottom..."

You know, just one time I'd like to see this commenter look at any current situation as the glass - is - half - full, rather than everyone sucks 24/7. If you hate the club so often as your posts indicate, why not go off somewhere and suck on some lemons instead?

Many of us can suck a lemon and type at the same time.

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  • Not sure I agree with this logic. The Cubs are one of the best teams in baseball, they have spent heavily on the team over the past couple of seasons, have more hitting prospects than they have places for them to play (and more on the way), a clear weakness in the bullpen, and have a 1.5 year window with Arrieta (to say nothing of the likely declines of Lester and Lackey).

    Unless you think (maybe even if you do think) Schwarber is the next coming of Babe Ruth, I would certainly consider trading him if it brought back a couple of the best relief pitchers in baseball.

    Rob Richardson 39 min 36 sec ago view
  • Miggy was going to sit anyway with Lester starting.

    In related news, do any of the Cubs pitchers want to throw to Contreras?

    Rob G. 51 min 45 sec ago view
  • Only Russell and Miggy failed to reach base yesterday. Both sit today.

    billybucks 1 hour 16 sec ago view
  • Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.

    Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.

    Rob G. 1 hour 11 min ago view
  • I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.

    Ryno 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.

    unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.

    they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.

    crunch 1 hour 49 min ago view
  • Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester

    Cubster 1 hour 57 min ago view
  • damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice

    crunch 2 hours 17 min ago view
  • Buddy Ryan takes his place alongside George Allen as the great Bear head coaches who never were.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 12 min ago view
  • Well, at least he can still hit: Jake slashing .294/.368/.868. Forget hitting 8th -- he should hit 6th.

    billybucks 5 hours 30 min ago view
  • Curious to see today's lineup vs. a LHP: Ross needs to catch Lester, Joe likes Javy at 3B when Lester pitches. Heyward with back-to-back good games at the plate, and is actually hitting a little better against LHP (.247/.341) than RHP (.232/.321), although neither is much to write home about. But, tomorrow is an early day game, so some regulars will probably sit either today or tomorrow.

    Maybe Willson in LF, KB in RF and Almora in CF? If so, Albert Jr., assume every ball is yours.

    billybucks 5 hours 35 min ago view
  • "Pitching prospects not looking so hot"

    That reminds me that Lucas Giolito will start for the Nats tonight.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 38 min ago view
  • Well, there you go. Federowicz is one of the best at balls in the dirt.

    VirginiaPhil 5 hours 57 min ago view
  • Reds pitching meeting tomorrow:

    "Hey coach...maybe we should walk Bryant?"
    "No...keep challenging him with fastballs! What kind of man are you?! The Cubs walked Harper, and look what happened there! They got teased for it, by one of the Nat players! Is that what you want?"

    billybucks 16 hours 39 min ago view
  • How can I get that feature? I think it woudl be a win-win for all involved.

    billybucks 16 hours 43 min ago view
  • Ian Happ is hitting.733 after 5 games at Tennessee. He went into tonight's game hitting .667 -- and went 3-for-3 to raise his average.

    2-for-3, including a bomb, for LaStella at Iowa. Pierce Johnson very bad -- 2IP, 5ER. Pitching prospects not looking so hot -- Underwood has been awful.

    Did Jiminez get hurt? I noticed he came out early yesterday.

    billybucks 17 hours 31 min ago view